Michael Vick gets hurt ... again

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Michael Vick gets hurt ... again

From Comcast SportsNet
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Michael Vick walked slowly off the field, shaken up for the second straight game. And he was eager to get back in the action. Philadelphia's star quarterback was leveled on just his sixth play of the Eagles' 27-17 preseason win over the New England Patriots on Monday night. X-rays on his ribs were negative, but he was held out as a precaution. "He's sore," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "He was trying to talk me into going back in, so how sore is sore?" Vick was knocked down by linebacker Jermaine Cunningham after heaving a long pass in the first quarter. Eleven days earlier, in a 24-23 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, he had X-rays on his left thumb -- also negative -- after hitting it on the helmet of center Jason Kelce. Vick took part in only six plays in that game, too. "Mike's tough," Eagles running back LeSean McCoy said. "I kind of figured it would be all right, even though he took kind of a big blow." On Monday night, Nick Foles replaced Vick and threw two touchdown passes for the second straight game for the Eagles (No. 8 in the AP Pro32). "I didn't give any speech or anything" when he joined his teammates in the huddle, Foles said. "I was ready to play and they were, too. I could look in their eyes and see the confidence." Tom Brady sat out the game for the Patriots (No. 2). The New England quarterback figures to play Friday night in the team's third preseason game, at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Other healthy starters, including wide receivers Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd, tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo, were held out of the game. The Eagles (2-0) also have a quick turnaround between games. Vick had been expected to play at least a half on Monday night and possibly rest on Friday night when Philadelphia faces the Cleveland Browns, also the Eagles' opponent in the regular-season opener. But his night was cut short, and he left after going 1 for 3 for 5 yards with one run for another 5 yards. After Cunningham drove his helmet into Vick's left side, the quarterback went down, got up slowly then knelt on one knee. He was checked by medical personnel before going to the sideline under his own power. "That is just football," Cunningham said, "going out there and getting the person with the ball." Foles, a rookie third-round draft pick from Arizona, came in and finished 18 for 28 for 217 yards and touchdown passes to Clay Harbor of 1 and 3 yards. "He did a great job," McCoy said. "In the huddle he demanded respect. He put everybody in the right places at the right times." McCoy scored on a 1-yard run, and Alex Henery kicked a 42-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 24-17 lead with 33 seconds left in the third quarter. He added a 21-yarder that capped the scoring with 2:00 remaining. For the Patriots (1-1), third-stringer Ryan Mallett completed 10 of 20 passes for 105 yards, including a 7-yard scoring pass to Alex Silvestro. Brian Hoyer was just 5 for 17 for 55 yards. "Ryan's a very confident player, both him and Brian," wide receiver Deion Branch said, "but it's hard for them because they have to play behind Tom Brady." Stephen Gostkowski kicked field goals of 51, 35 and 55 yards for the Patriots, who have scored only two preseason touchdowns. Vick's departure didn't change much for the Patriots despite his scrambling ability, defensive end Chandler Jones said. "It's the same offensive scheme they're running," he said. Vick wasn't the only first-stringer knocked out of the game. Philadelphia cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and New England safety Patrick Chung went out in the first half with shoulder injuries. Mike Kafka, Vick's backup last year, missed the game with a hand injury. The Patriots led 11-0 after Silvestro's touchdown 1:16 into the second quarter and a two-point conversion run by Shane Vereen. Then two lost fumbles within a span of six plays led to two Eagles touchdowns. Rookie Brandon Bolden muffed a punt, and McCoy scored three plays later. On the Patriots' second play after that, Hoyer fumbled when he was sacked by Phillip Hunt, and Darryl Tapp recovered at the New England 12. Foles hit DeSean Jackson for an 11-yard completion on the next play before connecting with Harbor. The Eagles took the lead for good, 21-14, with 3:58 gone in the third quarter on Harbor's second touchdown. ------ Notes: A moment of silence was held before the game for Garrett Reid. The son of Philadelphia coach Andy Reid was found dead Aug. 5 in his dorm room at Lehigh University where he was helping the team's strength and conditioning coach during training camp. ... Four Olympic medalists with New England connections were introduced before the game -- gymnast Aly Raisman of Needham, Mass., swimmer Elizabeth Beisel of Saunderstown, R.I., judo player Kayla Harrison of Marblehead, Mass., and basketball player Maya Moore, who played at the University of Connecticut. ... Andy Reid and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins had a brief confrontation on the sideline in the first half. "He comes at you. He wants to get the best out of you," Jenkins said. "Obviously, that's not the way I should have handled it, but you just get emotional."

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Updated MLB Postseason 2017 Bracket Projection

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USA Today Sports Images

Updated MLB Postseason 2017 Bracket Projection

Postseason teams are continuing to win, except for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and some incredible runs put on by teams just outside of the playoffs are being pushed to the side.

Although most of the divisions have been wrapped up, the battle for first place in each league and the overall top seed for home-field throughout the playoffs are getting heated. Of course the Dodgers losing three straight to Philadelphia Phillies, with the potential for the sweep tonight, is a huge factor.

Still at 96 wins they hold the best record in baseball but everyone is charging fast. Cleveland is now a game behind for home-field throughout the playoffs and Houston is 2.5 back. The Indians have won 26 of their last 27 and the Astros have claimed six straight.

The Washington Nationals (NL East Division Winner) have all but clinched the No. 2 seed in the National League and are slowly catching up to the Dodgers for No. 1.

After getting swept by the Boston Red Sox at home, the Baltimore Orioles postseason hopes are all but gone. With the possibility of losing Zach Britton it may be time to see the white flag.

Since the last bracket update on September 18, only the Boston Red Sox have clinched a postseason spot.

NATIONAL LEAGUE:

Things are not looking good in Los Angeles as the Phillies are in control of the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw gave up a grand slam in the sixth of his lone start and the bullpen has not been much better in the last two games. With the potential of the sweep tonight, the Dodgers are not trending in the right direction with the playoffs around the corner.

As a result, the Nationals are back into the fold for first place after winning two straight against the Atlanta Braves (the series finale is tonight). Only back 3.5 games for the top seed in the National League, the Nationals are in a golden opportunity. On top of making this run with a six-man rotation to get playoff starters rest, the team is going against opponents with a .432 winning percentage the rest of the way.

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While the Dodgers have struggled, their NL West rival, the Arizona Diamondbacks have not done much better. Arizona lost two of three to the Padres, only gaining one game on the Dodgers division lead. Los Angeles’ magic number is two with ten games remaining.

The National League Central Division has crunched up slightly from Monday. Chicago still leads but it is now down to 3.5 edge over the Milwaukee Brewers. Right behind the Brewers are the St. Louis Cardinals five games back of the Cubs. It is now gut-check time for the Cubs who have won seven of their last ten. Today they head to Milwaukee for a four game series that will likely decide the division and then head to St. Louis who are still in the thick of things.

Despite the bumps, Arizona is still well in control of their playoff fate. Colorado is behind them by 5.5 games for the first Wild Card, but the Brewers (-1.0 game) and Cardinals (-2.5 games) are now within striking range.

If the season were to end today, here is how the National League bracket would look:

Wild Card Round (Winner-take-all):

No. 5 Colorado Rockies (82-70) at No. 4 Arizona Diamondbacks (88-65)

National League Divisional Series (Best-of-5):

No. 1 Los Angeles Dodgers (96-56) vs. Wild Card Round Winner
No. 2 Washington Nationals (92-59) vs. No. 3 Chicago Cubs (84-67)

Wild Card Race:

Arizona Diamondbacks:  +5.5
Colorado Rockies:             ---
Milwaukee Brewers:         -1.0
St. Louis Cardinals:          -2.5
Miami Marlins:                -10.0

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Both the Indians (AL Central Division Winner) and the Astros (AL West Division Winner) continue to win so there is not much change among the top teams in the American League. The lead for Cleveland for the top seed is 1.5 games. This upcoming weekend, Houston does face their division rivals, the Los Angeles Angels who are battling for one of the two Wild Card spots. Likely it is the chance for Cleveland to pull away.

The New York Yankees completed a dominant sweep of the Minnesota Twins in a battle of potential Wild Card teams. However, the Boston Red Sox also swept the Orioles preventing the Yankees from gaining any ground in the AL East race. Still back three games, New York still has the advantage of playing lesser opponents (combined .478 winning percentage) at home. Surprisingly there will not be an end-of-season series between the two to decide the division.

Boston’s sweep earned them a post-season berth but their magic number for the division is eight games.

With the Twins getting swept, ten teams remain in contention for the final Wild Card spot. Again, New York/ Boston has all but locked up the top Wild Card. The Texas Rangers (2.5 games back) have taken two straight in Seattle, vaulting the Rangers into contention but dropping the Mariners (4.0 games back). Facing the Indians, the Los Angeles Angels have barely moved (1.5 games back). Creeping in after being after-thoughts are the Kansas City Royals (3.5 games back) and Tampa Bay Rays (4.0 games back).

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Fortunately for the Twins, they get the chance for a rebound series against the Detroit Tigers this weekend.  Los Angeles travels to Houston for three games, New York heads to Toronto, Texas continues their West Coast road trip with the Athletics, while the Royals host the lowly White Sox.

If the season were to end today, here is how the American League bracket would look:

Wild Card Round (Winner-take-all):

No. 5 Minnesota Twins (78-74) at No. 4 New York Yankees (85-67)

American League Divisional Series (Best-of-5):

No. 1 Cleveland Indians (95-57) vs. Wild Card Round Winner
No. 2 Houston Astros (93-58) vs. No. 3 Boston Red Sox (88-64)

Wild Card Race:

New York Yankees:     +7.0
Minnesota Twins:           ---
Los Angeles Angels:     -1.5
Texas Rangers:             -2.5
Kansas City Royals:      -3.5
Seattle Mariners:           -4.0
Tampa Bay Rays:          -4.0
Baltimore Orioles:          -5.5
Toronto Blue Jays:        -7.0
Oakland Athletics:         -9.0

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Accentuating the negative leads to positive results for Chris Thompson

Accentuating the negative leads to positive results for Chris Thompson

Some NFL players ooze confidence. They thrive on emphasizing what they do well and not speaking about weaknesses. In a game as tough and physical as pro football, some players need to feel bulletproof to survive.

Chris Thompson is not like that. He was one of the stars in the Redskins’ 27-20 win over the Rams on Sunday. He rushed three times for 77 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 29 yards. And while he enjoyed the win, he did not revel in his performance as he made a glaring mistake.

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In the third quarter, quarterback Kirk Cousins threw him a perfect pass over the middle. The speedy Thompson had nothing but green grass and white stripes in front of him. But he dropped the pass, turning what likely would have been a 62-yard touchdown into an incompletion.

That play stuck with him despite his touchdown runs of 61 and seven yards.

“I’m not going to lie to you,” he said. “On the plane ride, getting dressed after the game, this morning watching film, when I was outside at practice, I was thinking about that one play. My first thing I wanted to do when I got out there in individuals with the quarterbacks was to run that route again and catch the ball.”

Instead of reliving his glory, he went to work to correct one mistake.

This is not a lone instance of Thompson focusing on negative plays that he made. He said that mistakes stick in his mind more than good plays. During a few minutes talking to reporters on Wednesday, he recalled going the wrong way on a choice route against the Dolphins in 2015, costing a possible touchdown, making a similar mistake against the Browns last year, and errors that led to sacks of Cousins last year and of Robert Griffin III a few years ago.

“All of those things that I look back at that I did wrong, it helped me become a better player this year,” said Thompson. “I’ve been able to go back and look at that and see what went wrong and fix it now. As of late as I’ve become more confident in what I’m doing and more confident in my abilities I’m able to play better.”

Whatever Thompson is doing to become a better player is working. He signed a two-year contract extension earlier this month. Jay Gruden sings his praises whenever he’s asked about him. His teammates almost universally admire and respect him. In his fifth NFL season, many analysts around the league are starting to recognize him as a main cog in the Redskins’ offense.

It is unlikely that he will change his approach.

“I had to mess up a lot in order to get where I am now,” he said. Thompson will continue to perfect his game by putting his imperfect moments under the microscope. 

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